Be Conscious of Choice and Change
I am honored to have been asked to be a presenter in Fort Lewis College’s Fire Side Chat series.
This post is a compilation of my preparation notes and the resources mentioned during my talk.
Matt Kelly, Personal Finance Coach
If I knew in college what I know now, I would have made more conscious choices about things that affected my personal finances. My hope for you is that you will make conscious choices and will consider the long-term affect your choices will have on your stress levels and true happiness.
Our choices are driven by our Dreams, Goals, Beliefs, Values, Culture and Lifestyle. These are powerful forces. They are able to help us achieve much and they can cause us to unconscious choices too. Consider your motivation regarding where you want to live, what type of home and car you want, will you live with debt, will you use credit cards, what type of wedding will you have, will you marry at all?
The list could go on and on and it is important to note that each choice we make is an effort to make ourselves happy. Though if we have not consider what makes us deeply happy and peaceful we may be living someone else’s dream. And no amount of spending will make us truly happy if we are not living our own authentic life.
Change is inevitable: So be prepared appeared in the September 29th edition of the Durango Herald.
Personal Finance Vocabulary:
Here is a link to my personal finance vocabulary document.
Use the After Tax Take Home Pay Calculator to find out home much of your income you’ll really have available after taxes. Because you can only spend what you bring home after all of your taxes have been paid.
Use this calculator to compare the cost of living in two different cities. As you choose where you want to live it is very important to consider the cost of living not just how much you expect to earn.
Knowing what you can expect to earn is critically important to choosing where to live. This report details the median household incomes for the the MSA’s in the US.
Of course how much you earn is also affected by your career choice. Here is a link to a salary wizard which will help you determine how much you’ll earn based upon where you live.
Housing is typically the most expensive item in your budget. Where you choose to live determines how much you’ll pay for rent and how much it will cost to buy a home. The more you spend on housing the less money you’ll have for saving, investing and spending. This report details the median cost of a home in the MSA’s in the US.
At 17% of household income transportation is the second most expensive budget item. The Real Cost of Car Ownership is a calculator that can help you see how much transportation really costs. And it calculates how much money you would accumulate if you were to opt not to have a car and invest the difference.
Another look at the cost difference between car-commuting and public transportation is provided by Public Transportation.org in their report Save $9,381 by Riding Public Transportation. In Denver it is estimated that you would save $9,761, slightly above average, annually.
Plugging these numbers into a savings calculator I found that if you invested that $9,761 dollars each year at the end of 20 years you would have accumulated $482,417.14 and with no further investing that money will grow to be just over 1 million dollars in just 10 additional years.